Arthritis

Unlike degenerative joint diseases (arthrosis), inflammations of joints (arthritis) are often associated with excess heat, swelling and reddening. The chemical processes and cell activities involved with inflammatory conditions gradually destroy the joint cartilage over time.

These conditions are caused by autoimmune processes that occur in rheumatologic conditions. Inflammations can however also accompany wear and tear processes (arthrosis). The synovial sac, or bursa, that surrounds the joint can also become inflamed (bursitis, periarthritis).

This often affects the shoulder joint which, due to its tremendous freedom of movement, is subjected to considerable strain. Bacteria that enter the joint following injury or via the blood stream can lead to purulent inflammations of the joint. They cause fever and a general feeling of being unwell and require immediate treatment.

Symptoms

Depending on the cause, the inflammation often begins with severe pain which makes movement of the affected joint impossible. The muscle spasm that occurs as a result of this pain can cause a cramping feeling in the shoulder area, for example, known as impingement syndrome.

If the inflammatory process persists over a long period (chronic inflammation), the joint can stiffen up.

Treatment

The aim of conservative therapy is to use medications to halt the inflammation promptly and permanently and, with physiotherapy, keep the joints mobile or restore any mobility that has already been lost.

For chronic inflammatory conditions, arthroscopic surgery allows the mucosal tissues around the joints to be trimmed and inflamed areas to be removed. This creates more space for free movement.

If severe cartilage damage has already occurred as a result of inflammatory processes, joint replacement operations such as hip or knee joint prostheses can largely restore the joint's function.